It was a semi frustrating journey, but I’ve made it to Nottingham and will be installed in my permanent quarters on Saturday. Currently I’m skipping International Student Welcome Week programs to hang out, do laundry, and update my blog/Facebook/Twitter. Most of the events are geared toward students that have jut graduated High School (or their country’s equivalent). There are still parents of these students in town (seriously, cut the apron strings already… they probably moved across the world to get away from your helicopter parenting). Anywho, here are the details of my journey:
Had to wait an extraordinarily long time for my plane on Monday (mostly my own fault for not checking to see how far in advance I could check in and get my baggage situated) but O’Hare had free WI-FI and my phone still worked so I wasn’t too fussed. I slept for a couple hours and woke in time for dinner (which wasn’t too bad considering), but I was awake the rest of the flight :(. Breakfast was pretty decent, but that was the last food I was to consume until 7pm (1900) Nottingham time (it was 0800 Nottingham time).
Got off the plane in Madrid about 10 minutes “late” and figured, “No big deal, I’ll just have to hurry to make my next plane (about an hour layover).” WRONG! Little did I know, the Spanish Gov. requires all people coming into the country to go through Passport Control and ANOTHER SECURITY CHECK including stupid little baggies of lotions & potions, laptops completely naked, and all the annoying flying security BS I’d already put up with in the U.S. All the while being yelled at to do certain things repeatedly in Spanish, even when I asked them to repeat it in English they just yelled the same thing in Spanish again. Also, the Madrid airport felt like the largest airport in the entire world. After stamping, striping, repacking, and a 10 min tram ride. everything I had 20 mins til my flight left (yes left, not boarding). I still had to go up 4 escalators, and haul ass down about a mile and a half concourse to the FURTHEST gate. Needless to say I didn’t make it in time for my flight. I didn’t even make it to the gate, before I cut in line at a different counter (same airline) to figure out if I had already missed it.
Sweating, suffering some serious shin splints, and nearly crying from stress I stormed the counter and shoved my passport and boarding pass into a startled woman’s face, she took what seemed like forever to call the other gate and acertain that I indeed had missed it and the doors had already been closed. She was extremely helpful and I’m sorry I was so snotty to her, but I didn’t know that there was another flight to the same place and hour later, so I was a little stressed. In any case, she got me on the next flight and I went, changed my clothes, because I probably smelled like a library patron, and waited to board.
While waiting I discovered that the Madrid airport doesn’t have free WI-FI or outlets to plug into, so I could update anyone on my status. I slept through most of that 3 hour flight and landed at Heathrow airport an hour after I was originally intended to. Passport Control was really quick and they didn’t ask me any asinine questions about where I was staying and for how long or what color my eyes are, so my temper had drastically improved.
My baggage (luckily it missed my first flight too) arrived unmolested and I walk right out of “customs” without being spoken to by anyone. I found the Nottingham crew waiting and paid to have my luggage take to the Uni via van (no way would all of our luggage have fit in the bottom of the coach (bus)) I was suppose to be able to send my smaller bag on the bus, but I was one of the last ones to board that particular coach so both my bags went in the van. We pulled into Campus 3 hours later, and I would have paid a large amount of money for a proper shower.
to be continued….